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1971 Commencement Speaker at William and Mary

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Author: Bloom, Lois; College of William and Mary. Lemon Project
Abstract: Research and report by Lois Bloom on 1971 Commencement Speaker at William and Mary Summary of Relevant Articles in The Flat Hat, 10/2/1970-5/14/1971 (With Citations and Excerpts)A Black Commencement Speaker? Not Yet Lois Bloom, Ph.D. The senior class of 1971 sponsored a referendum to determine their preferences for recommending a commencement speaker to the administration. Mayor Charles Evers of Fayette, Mississippi was second on the final list of speakers they proposed. After the students’ first choice declined, the administration suggested that inviting Mr. Evers “might not be appropriate.” College president Davis Y. Paschall instead invited four others to speak, by-passing Mr. Evers, all of whom declined, and he continued to search for a graduation speaker whom he considered would appeal “to all segments of the college community.” When a local member of the state legislature was finally announced as the 1971 speaker, Mr. Evers accepted an invitation from the graduating seniors to speak at a separate assembly on the day of Commencement. In accepting their invitation he suggested that they “take this experience as an object lesson of what racism has done in our country, and . . . attempt in your future lives to help get rid of discrimination in all its forms.”
Issued Date: 2013-10-14
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10288/21126
Citation: Lemon Project Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, College of William and Mary.

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